0 to 10: The Essential First 10 Hires for Successful B2B SaaS Startups
The first hires in a startup can make or break the company’s success, especially in the highly competitive world of B2B SaaS.
For venture-backed SaaS startups, this can be extremely rewarding, or equally daunting – the first 10 hires you make pave the way for your startup’s success (or failure).
That’s why in this article, we’ll discuss the essential first hires for B2B SaaS startup success, and provide tips on how to hire for technical, sales and marketing, and customer success roles.
The Importance of First Hires in B2B SaaS Companies
The first hires in a B2B SaaS company are crucial for mainly 3 reasons.
First of all, they set the tone for the company culture. A startup’s culture is shaped by its early employees, and it’s important to hire people who will align with the company’s values and vision. If your initial employees aren’t disciplined or don’t have the right mindset/attitude, then you’ll spend a lot of time recovering from that culture!
Secondly, first hires will help build the product and create a foundation for the company’s future success. The growth stage from your MVP to product-market fit is an essential part of your SaaS startup’s future. If you mess that up, you’ll have a lot of technical debt to cover up!
And lastly, the first hires will be responsible for setting a standard for future employees – meaning they will have a massive impact on the company’s growth trajectory in the long run.
What Are The 10 First & Most Important Hires in a B2B SaaS Startup?
In the initial phase of your startup, you don’t need to hire for every empty department. At this point, your aim should be to improve your product from a development point of view.
This role will take over your SaaS startup’s marketing needs. Whether it’s about managing your social media presence, creating a digital marketing strategy, or building a brand’s community from scratch, this person will be your go-to expert.
One of the key skills needed for any marketing and community manager is to be an all-rounder. Whether it’s to create email marketing campaigns from scratch, run ads online, or design a well-crafted landing page, this person will take matters into their own hands.
Recommended number of people needed: One (or two if you’re a fast-growing startup)
Sales & Business Development Manager
This person will wear different hats in marketing and sales.
Your sales and business development manager will be responsible for getting your SaaS company more qualified leads, sales, and finding more opportunities to grow your business from the ground up.
Sales are the lifeblood of any business – if you find a person who can negotiate, can build good client relationships, and close deals naturally, then give them the contract.
This person will also take over other parts of growing your company such as company partnerships, market research and development, and finding new ways to improve your product’s offerings.
Recommended number of people needed: One
Customer Success Representative
This person is responsible for engaging with website users, addressing inquiries through email, and providing valuable product feedback to the marketing and product team.
Every SaaS startup should aim to build a long-lasting relationship with their customers – and with a quality customer service/success representative, this job becomes much easier.
Make sure you fill this role with a person who has great interpersonal and communication skills.
Recommended number of people needed: One
The developer will closely work with the Head of Marketing, Engineering Lead, and Customer Success to ensure that your product is actively solving problems for your ideal customers.
This person will be responsible for the overall product development, execution, and making sure the application is up to par. Your developers should be comfortable with working in different programming languages and must have a good grasp of both technical and soft skills.
Recommended number of people needed: Five
Having a UI/UX designer is crucial for any SaaS startup to create a user-friendly product.
A UI/UX designer guides you through the right steps to create a product you want to introduce to the market. They’ll help you with the product concept, user research, create wireframes and make test different versions of your SaaS product. The designer also lends a hand during development and checks how users interact with the product to find areas that need improvement.
Recommended number of people needed: One
Hiring for Different Departments in a B2B SaaS Startup Success
Every SaaS startup’s hiring journey looks different than the other. That’s why we’ve made a small guide for you to know what skills to look for when recruiting more people.
Hiring for Technical Roles in B2B SaaS Startups
Technical roles are critical for B2B SaaS startups, as the product is the foundation of the company’s success. When hiring for technical roles, it’s important to look for candidates who have experience building similar products and have a strong understanding of the relevant technologies. It’s also important to hire people who are passionate about the product and its potential impact on the market.
Hire people who are team players and can work collaboratively with others. Startups require a lot of cross-functional collaboration, so aim to hire people who can work effectively with others.
Another crucial aspect of hiring technical staff is their tech stack and skillset. For a fast-growing B2B SaaS startup, it’s essential that you hire developers that are highly skilled in a modern web framework, like React, Angular, or Vue. This is why we started ReactSquad.io
Hiring for Sales and Marketing Roles in B2B SaaS Startups
Sales and marketing roles are critical for B2B SaaS startups since they are responsible for generating revenue and driving growth.
When hiring for sales and marketing roles, prioritize candidates who have experience working in similar industries and have a track record of success. Some qualities of good marketing/salespeople are those passionate about the product and can effectively communicate its value to potential customers.
One important factor in hiring marketers is their understanding of SaaS as a whole. Traditional marketing strategies aren’t that relevant to SaaS, so if you end up hiring an employee or a team of marketing professionals, then you need to educate them on your product, the SaaS space, and best practices within the space inside out.
For a PLG-based SaaS company, it’s vital to have a sales team that’s specifically catered to inbound customers that take calls from people who come via PQL (Product Qualified Leads).
However, if your SaaS company doesn’t follow a self-serve/PLG model, you would need a salesperson to deal with enterprise clients who have a specific set of requirements from your product.
Outside of having sales and marketing skills, it’s important to hire people who are adaptable, versatile, and can think creatively. Startups require a lot of research and experimentation, so hire those who can think outside the box.
Hiring for Customer Success Roles in B2B SaaS Startups
Customer success roles are critical for B2B SaaS startups, as they are responsible for ensuring that customers are happy with the product and continue to use it.
When hiring for customer success roles, it’s important to look for candidates who have experience working in similar industries and have a strong understanding of customer needs. It’s also important to hire people who are passionate about helping customers and can effectively communicate with them.
In any fast-growing B2B SaaS startup, you can’t avoid facing product glitches and errors. When you have a number of paying customers, it’s essential to have a customer support team who’s ready to address your user’s pains and issues at all times.
If you fail to recruit a strong customer success team, then your SaaS company is bound to have higher churn rates and lower retention!
That’s why you should focus on hiring customer success managers who are empathetic and can build strong relationships with customers. Startups require a lot of customer feedback and input, and it’s important to hire people who put customer loyalty and trust as top priority.
Common Mistakes to Avoid in Hiring for B2B SaaS Startups
Hiring your first 10 employees for your B2B SaaS startup can be an interesting process, but make sure you avoid these 5 pitfalls during the whole process:
▶️ Hiring based solely on technical skills or experience
▶️ Rushing the hiring process
▶️ Outsourcing without proper screening and evaluation
▶️ Failing to define clear roles and responsibilities for the position
▶️ Not considering cultural fit and team dynamics
To avoid these mistakes, take the time to define what you’re looking for, screen candidates thoroughly, involve team members in the hiring process, and prioritize cultural fit and team dynamics.
This way you can build a strong foundation for your SaaS startup and form a team that will take your company to the next level!
P.S. We help startups like you hire the best remote React developers. If you’re interested, visit ReactSquad.io.